Officers were called at 5am following reports of a shooting incident in the area around Laycock Place, near the Leeds West Indian Centre in Chapeltown.
The man was taken to hospital and is currently in a serious but stable condition.
Six men have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Police say inquiries are at an early stage and officers are working to try to establish the full circumstances while Neighbourhood Policing Team officers are also patrolling the area to offer reassurance to residents.
Mary Smith, 80, from Doncaster, said she had been visiting friends there earlier in the day and was shocked to hear what had happened.
She said: “I do hope the gentleman concerned is going to be OK and does not suffer any permanent damage from his injuries.
“I have been coming to this area for many years and it has always been a friendly kind of a place with a good atmosphere and a pleasant ambience.
“But I visit it during the day and I can only imagine that it gets a lot more racy in the early hours of the morning.”
Last year Leeds’s annual West Indian Carnival in August attracted 130,00 people and began its colourful procession from the centre. Hundreds of people turned up in fancy dress.
Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to contact the Homicide and Major Inquiry Team on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.